Football preseason has barely witnessed players scorch the running trails, yet Launceston’s favourite AFL club is finalising their squad for the biggest clash of the year to hit the state.
Hawthorn are primed for North Melbourne, but it’s not the round-21 Tasmanian clash that is the focus.
The club will forget the AFL draft to bring out the willow and leather for Ricky’s Biggest Game of Cricket.
Luke Hodge hands over the captaincy to ex-Australian swing king Damien Fleming, who will fulfill a dream to captain a Hawks side.
“We’ve assembled a pretty red-hot squad of players,” Fleming said.
“There’s a great mix of bowling techniques, batting capability and fielding prowess in this squad, and I think we are going to have no problems knocking over the Roos.”
Aussie international and Hawks fan John Hastings also joins the likes of retired great Shane Crawford and former teammate Daniel Harford.
Hawks stars Grant Birchall, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust, Josh Gibson, Issac Smith will take to the field with Hodge and coach Alastair Clarkson for the charity clash on January 27.
Hodge and Roughead will be returning for the Ponting game, having played in the inaugural Launceston encounter in January 2014 under lights in front of a Tasmanian record crowd of 17,771.
“That was a night that Roughy and I will never forget,” Hodge said.
“The huge crowd and standard of cricket was pretty amazing and our boys are all keen to put on a similar show in January.”
The Ponting Foundation will donate all proceeds from the Twenty20 game to its cancer and health projects in Tasmania. Ponting expects to announce his North Melbourne squad next week.
“We are thrilled by ticket sales to date and the announcement of the Hawthorn squad, full of their superstars and best cricketers, is certain to spike the interest in the lead-up to Christmas,” Ponting Foundation honorary chief executive James Henderson said.
Tickets may be purchased direct from Ticketmaster outlets or via www.ticketmaster.com.au
Full Hawthorn squad
- Damien Fleming (captain)
- Luke Hodge (vice-captain)
- Jarryd Roughead (vice-captain)
- Grant Birchall
- Luke Breust
- Cameron Bruce
- Alastair Clarkson
- Shane Crawford
- James Frawley
- Josh Gibson
- Jack Gunston
- Blake Hardwick
- Daniel Harford
- John Hastings
- Brett Ratten
- Issac Smith
- Brendan Whitecross
- Dallas Willsmore